PNE 1 Leyton Orient 1
Joe Garner scored a second half penalty to give North End a point against promotion rivals Leyton Orient on a day where the Club paid tribute to Sir Tom Finney.
Before the game it was all about the great legend, as his family were presented with wreaths from both clubs, but from 3pm it was about the football.
Mathieu Baudry gave the visitors a first half lead, but Garner grabbed his 17th goal of the season just after the hour mark to give the Lilywhites a deserved three points.
The game itself got underway with North End manager Simon Grayson making one change to the side that won at Tranmere Rovers the previous week; Tom Clarke returning from injury to replace Jack King.
The Lilywhites started brightly, Paul Gallagher heading over from Scott Laird’s cross after only 25 seconds.
The visitors first threat came in the seventh minute, Declan Rudd tipping over Mathieu Baudry’s effort from eight yards out after a long ball into the box.
After that threat it was all North End for much of the rest of the half. On 18 minutes PNE won their first PNE corner through John Welsh, after a cross from Craig Davies. From the cross top scorer Joe Garner hit a volley from Gallagher’s cross, bit it was over the bar and into Kop.
At the mid-point in the half the big crowd were up in arms when Craig Davies appeared to be hauled down in the box by Nathan Clarke, but no foul was given by referee Dean Whitestone – the No.17 would have been one on one with the keeper.
Shortly after the same man, Davies, saw a shot saved by the legs of Hull City loanee Jakupovic after a Keith Keane through ball into the front man.
On the half hour mark the home side won a free kick right on the edge of the box to the right of the ‘D’. Scott Laird got the free kick on target, but there was no power behind it and Jakupovic claimed easily.
It was all PNE and Eldin Jakupovic tipped Kilkenny shot round post after a PNE break, before a Gallagher shot was deflected round the post for a corner after Wiseman played ball in as the Lilywhites again broke quickly.
However, two minutes from the break, completely against the run of play, a Scott Cuthbert long free kick from his own half was headed down by Kevin Lisbie and Baudry smashed home on the run to give the O’s the lead.
Straight up the other end it was almost an immediate reaction as Joe Garner was set up by a poor Cuthbert clearance, but he dragged his shot from the edge of the box just wide of right hand post.
Simon Grayson’s side started the second half brightly and added Lee Holmes to the mix for Keith Keane with 12 minutes of the half gone.
David Mooney broke the offside trap and had a chance to make it two, but blazed over from a tight angle an hour in.
North End had a penalty in the 63rd minute as Crag Davies was tumbled by Nathan Clarke and Joe Garner stepped up and drilled the ball into the bottom left hand corner, turning his shirt round to show the Finney name and celebrate.
Substitute Kevin Davies had a fantastic chance to score from Scott Wiseman’s cross after some excellent passing with eight minutes left as North End pushed for a winner, but headed just wide.
Four minutes were added to the game, but the game ended with the teams sharing the points.
: Rudd, Wiseman, Laird, Keane (Holmes, 57), T Clarke, Wright, Welsh, Kilkenny, Gallagher (Brownhill, 76), C Davies (K Davies, 76), Garner. Subs not used: Stuckmann, Beavon, Buchanan, King.PNE line-up
: Jakupovic, Sawyer, Vincelot, Cuthbert, Baudry, Cox, James, Lisbie (Dagnall, 70), Mooney, Odubajo (Batt, 82), N Clarke. Subs not used: Larkins, Lasimant, Bartley, Simpson, Ness.Leyton Orient line-up
: 13,440 (372 away fans)Attendance
: Mr D WhitestoneReferee